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Corcos, Stella

CORCOS, STELLA

CORCOS, STELLA (1858–1948), educator. Stella Corcos was the daughter of an Algerian Jewish tobacco merchant, Avraham Duran, and Rivka Montefiore (1831–1929) of the famous London *Montefiore family. Stella married Moses Corcos, one of Mogador's wealthiest merchants, in England, and settled in Mogador in 1884.

In Mogador, with the assistance of the Agudat Aḥim philanthropic association of England headed by Claude Montefiore, she founded in 1885 an English-speaking school called "Kavod ve-Ometz" for lower class Jewish girls in order that they might escape the clutches of missionaries. The school attracted attention in the region and was visited by numerous diplomats and foreign dignitaries. The school outnumbered the local Alliance Israélite Universelle school in female students and thrived until 1915, when it closed. Through the influence of the school, English filtered into the Mogador Jewish community. Stella also introduced Jewish theater in the school and played a pioneering role in the introduction of Jewish theater in Morocco.

After her husband died in 1907, she was left alone with six children; among them her daughters Florence and Winnie, who were teachers in the school, and her sons Jacob and Mas'ud, the latter a London merchant. She used her influence with the Sultan of Morocco to better the living conditions of the Jews of the Mellah (Ghetto) of Mogador. On one occasion, she met with the Sultan in Marrakesh, riding to the meeting by horse. She maintained the school during periods of economic crisis, drought, epidemics, and even after the onset of French protectorate rule in 1912.

bibliography:

S.S. Corcos, "English School for Girls in Mogador in Light of the Discovery Documents Unknown Until Now," in: Brit, 21, 31–43. (Heb.); D. Corcos, Studies in the History of the Jews of Morocco (1976), xii–xiii.

[Yitzchak Kerem (2nd ed.)]

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